Today I’m once again featuring the crazy/amazing baking skills of my daughter in law Shandi from The White Kitten Bakes! I hope one day I can bake cakes, cupcakes and cookies that taste as phenomenal as they look. But that day isn’t here yet! I adore cooking, but honestly, I’m a baking disaster!
I love the way all these turned out. But if I had to pick a favorite, it might be those gorgeous snowflakes!
Here’s how you can make the prettiest sugar cookies ever, right from your own kitchen! For the cookies, Shandi recommends this time-tested recipe from In Katrina’s Kitchen. Katrina likes to roll and cut her cookies fairly thick so they hold a lot of frosting. She says that incorporating that last cup of flour may make you nervous because the dough will look dry and crumbly. So… she recommends that you turn out the dough and work with wet hands until it is smooth and ready to roll.
Shandi’s favorite royal icing recipe comes from Wendy at Around My Family Table.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- FOR ROYAL ICING
- 1½ cups confectioner's sugar (cheaper powdered sugar is lumpy so buy a good brand)
- 1 tbs milk
- 2 tsp light corn syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla or almond extract
- additional water for thinning
- FOR COOKIES
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth.
- Beat in extracts and egg.
- In a separate bowl combine baking powder with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff.
- If it becomes too stiff for your mixer, turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
- DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH.
- Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut.
- You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
- Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.
- Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
- FOR ROYAL ICING
- Add confectioner's sugar and milk to a clean bowl.
- Blend with a handheld mixer until it is mostly lump free.
- Add corn syrup and extract and continue to blend until smooth for about 45 seconds-one minute.
- If it's too thick, add water by the drop (a little goes a long way).
- If it's too thin, add more confectioner's sugar.
- Note: Royal Icing should somewhat hold it shape for a count of 10. This will make a perfect consistency for cookies.
- If you must chill the dough just leave it on the counter top for 10 minutes before rolling or work the dough with your hands for a few minutes.
- You can omit the almond extract if you do not have it available, however the taste is really fantastic with the hint of almond.
- Keep in mind that the recipe yield will vary according to how thick you roll your cookies and how large or small your cutters are.
- Bake for 6 minutes to test. They should be soft. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cool completely. If you reach 7-8 minutes and the edges turn brown your cookie will be crisper.
-Keep the icing covered at all times so it doesn’t harden before you use it (cover the bowl and tips with plastic wrap)
-The icing will be very thick
-Royal Icing should somewhat hold its shape for a count of 10. This will make a perfect consistency for cookies.
Of course, decorating the cookies is the most fun part of all! Ashley from Spoon Full of Flavor has an excellent tutorial for decorating Christmas cookies.
I sure hope that one day I can make cookies as pretty as Shandi’s!
Friends, I pray each of you is blessed abundantly this Christmas with those who are dear to you!
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